Rancho Santa Fe Middle School ranks among state’s top 10 schools

R. Roger Rowe Middle School is the top performing middle school in San Diego County and the 10th best school in the state. The Rancho Santa Fe School District celebrated its high scores on the Standard Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test at its Oct. 7 board meeting.

In addition to the middle school soaring high, Superintendent David Jaffe reported that the elementary school’s scores were also among the top in the county and the state.

In English language arts, the district had 88 percent of students meet or exceed standards compared to 49 percent statewide average. In math, the district had 87 percent meet or exceed the standards compared to the state’s 37 percent.

Jaffe said the scores are a reflection of a staff that truly cares about the success of every child. He said the dedication to excellence from staff, parents and students is what makes R. Roger Rowe one of California’s top schools.

“The challenge is to look deep into the data to see where our strengths are and where our challenges are, to address any issues,” Jaffe said. “We will always be looking for ways to improve.”

In the elementary school, third grade performed strong, with 93 percent meeting or exceeding the standard in language arts and 92 percent met or exceed math standards.

Elementary school Principal Kim Pinkerton said fifth grade students showed “tremendous growth” in the claims of writing and research and inquiry. Comparing their results from when they were in fourth grade, the students went from 45 percent to 55 percent above standard in writing. In research and inquiry, the fifth graders went from 34 percent above standard to 68 percent above standard this year.

Middle school Principal Garrett Corduan said he is very pleased to see the middle school’s scores when they came in from the state. At the beginning of last year he and the middle school teachers put a plan in place and set the goal for 90 percent of Rowe students to achieve the standard met or standard exceeded score in literacy and math. The plan included teacher-guided meetings with parents, a teacher and student mentoring program and testing schedule changes.

Corduan said the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students made significant growth in all categories of both language arts and math. Overall, 92 percent of middle school students scored in the standard met and standard exceeded category for language arts. In the math category, 90 percent of the middle school students achieved a standard met or standard exceeded score.

“There is no doubt that the students at R. Roger Rowe School receive an outstanding education. We are fortunate to have high-achieving students,” Corduan said. “At the same time, these test results are only one indication of the many ways our students benefit from exceptional teachers that are dedicated to their students.”

Looking ahead to next year, the principals’ goals remain to achieve that 90 percent standard met or exceeded target, to review curriculum and instruction at fourth grade, develop a math intervention class for sixth grade and add a math intervention specialist for kindergarten through fifth grade students.

One area where the district has sought to find a balance is in the actual time of the testing. The computer-adaptive test takes about seven to seven-and-a-half hours.